I design, therefore I am

I design, therefore I am

I always cry at least once during fashion month.  Mostly because of exhaustion and crabbiness or because something disastrous happened (lost bank card, stolen phone, twisted ankle etc etc).  Sometimes though you do get caught up in the moment of a collection and things genuinely move you.  Simone Rocha did that.  I'll probably blame the tears on jumped up hormones and fatigue because we're really no longer in the age of fashion where shows are so moving that audiences stand up, weep or faint from the beauty they've just been delivered.  Those moments are rare these days.  You give faint smiles, politely clap and rush off to the next one.     

The funny thing was when tears were being shed, I wasn't even strictly speaking watching the show.  I was backstage seeing a flurry of activity.  But even from back there with the muffled rumblings of U.S. Girls' The Island Song and Joy Division's Atmosphere (maybe that was the tear jerker) and casting directors and production people yelling at girls to line-up properly, I was moved.  Rocha has always designed from a genuinely personal place, devoid of overarching concept, but this season it was especially so.  Read this poetic, brief and tension-ridden press release…

‚ÄòTis Killing Warm. 

Sheep, gorse, moss and rock.

The collection is the West of Ireland, Connemara.

It’s hard, wet, dark, ugly, masculine, tailored, embellished and pearled.

Think of the sea, think of you and me.

Wet lace, patent cotton, heavy silk and thick tulle, hand crochet cotton and embroidered plastic. 

It is a balance and a constraint, soft and rough and tough, men and women.

Mourning, communion, isolation, union.

What Rocha is making reference to is abundantly clear when you saw all of those prim pearls laced with connotation, those ruffled slits revealing a flash of leg in the full skirts that is overt in its subtext, the nods to Catholic veils, "proper" handbags and gloves worn for Sunday Mass and finally the swathes of nuptial-implied tulle covering the models.  She was passing comment on a female's formative rites of passage, from innocent childhood, to a sexual awakening, to finding a soulmate and then joining with them in union.  All the while Rocha created incredibly evocative and desirable clothes.  Girls who hate all things sugar n' spice and all things nice, left the show swooning.  They got the memo that Rocha gave them license to mash up femininity and masculinity in harmonious ways.  In her hands, female-associated materials like lace, crochet, pearls and sheer tulle are always going to go through a toughening up process – the lace becomes "wet", plastic becomes embroidered, pearls are paired with perspex-heeled jelly shoes or with spongey mesh and tulle is flecked with glint.  They're unnatural pairings that are made to feel completely natural.  

Maybe it was a cry of relief that Rocha had delivered, where much of London Fashion Week has been a little lacking.  Without naming names, a lot of what I saw was overly polite, polished and buyer-friendly and whilst those are not bad things, I missed the real shaken-to-core moments – the really special tingles I've felt many times before at London Fashion Week when you see someone has really given it their all.  Rocha's collection will get the buyers foaming at the mouths of course but maybe a tear or two will fall.  Think of the sea, think of you and me.  

































Leave a comment
  1. Dina

    2013-09-19 at 9:31 AM

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s sad that designers are trying to “conform” to make their designs more appealing to buyers. Perhaps it also says something about the current financial climate – as much as I feel lucky not to feel it too much myself – yet – I should imagine as an independent designer, it can be super difficult. Moreover, the pressure to work rapidly translates into a certain sloppiness, which means many collections won’t leave a lasting impression. In the age of social media, our reactions to everything are quickened and truncated – we move from one thing to the next. So I guess designers also know that and know that they don’t need to engage on a deeper level because few viewers will access that anyway. I think also maybe you cried because you care – which so many people don’t. It’s really lovely to know that there is still someone out there who gives all shows the same amount of attention and unpicks them so beautifully afterwards. I was going to post a chatty cover of the Sophia Webster presentation, but now I think I will try and delve a little bit deeper than that and be more analytical. Thank you for setting a good example, and for the Thursday morning listening,and for the great shots.

  2. WOWS

    2013-09-19 at 9:37 AM

    WOW! Amazing!!!!
    Kisses from
    Don’t miss you today my personal view of the Madrid’s Fashion
    Week…with my own pictures of the amazing designs by ETXEBARRIA !!!.
    an amazing pair of bamboo wood sunglasses!!!

  3. WOWS

    2013-09-19 at 9:38 AM

    Kisses from
    Don’t miss you today my personal view of the Madrid’s Fashion
    Week…with my own pictures of the amazing designs by ETXEBARRIA !!!.
    an amazing pair of bamboo wood sunglasses!!!

  4. Zaena

    2013-09-19 at 10:24 AM

    Beautiful collection and those are some of the best shoes I’ve ever seen on a catwalk!

  5. mariposa fashion blog

    2013-09-19 at 10:27 AM

    Congrats for this post!!! Amazing pics.. I love fashion and you are my inspiration.. Thank you Susie!
    xxx from germany

  6. Denisa

    2013-09-19 at 10:43 AM

    Interesting collection. Great day.

  7. Helen

    2013-09-19 at 10:53 AM

    Ahh those perspex-soled loafers and sandals are a dream. So glad texture mish-mash is having its moment.

  8. themilanomode.com

    2013-09-19 at 11:30 AM

    I always admire her works and that she has always created a wow-ing collection from a very personal concept, and yet her audience can very well relate! Well, you be around for MFW? It was great meeting you last year!
    new BEAUTY/MFW post
    on themilanomode.com

  9. TheMacaronAddict

    2013-09-19 at 11:52 AM

    This is an amazing collection! I could imagine you in all these clothes!

  10. Chloe

    2013-09-19 at 2:07 PM

    What a gorgeous collection! The last picture was too beautiful. I love how it doesn’t need a ton of blasting color, but just light beige material with pearls. The only collection this month that I really liked like this one was Zac Posen. Others were good, but I was very disappointed by designers I usually like, like Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Erdem. Love this post!

  11. Maqui

    2013-09-19 at 2:48 PM

    Es una maravilla. Tan original, femenina y arriesgada…me gusta.

  12. riyka

    2013-09-19 at 3:45 PM

    what a beautiful poetic description of a collection, I always love to read your reviews of collections, it makes me see things in a different way, I love what Simone rocha is doing, its beautiful, new and personal, which makes it so different to everything else I have seen, I wish her many more successful catwalks, and you less tears 🙂

  13. Lola @wedding planner

    2013-09-19 at 4:33 PM

    Dresses in the end of post are gorgeous and I think they could even suit for a wedding.

  14. Elle

    2013-09-19 at 4:35 PM

    Woow! I really like the collection, I´m such a sucker for laces and pearls of any kind.. Yes thank you to any kind of clothing from that collection!
    Love from Norway,

  15. Katie Thomas

    2013-09-19 at 5:10 PM

    fashion week is always a great week!
    keep up the great writing

  16. robyn

    2013-09-19 at 5:13 PM

    wow lovely pictures Susie
    super amaaaaazing collection that is dreamy

  17. Maria

    2013-09-19 at 7:07 PM

    This is beautiful, especially the pale gold pieces. I’m actually happy that London was a bit more commercial because money is what makes this machine work. That being said buyer friendly London is still leaps and bounds ahead of the Next catalogue that is New York.

  18. lauren

    2013-09-19 at 7:45 PM

    WOW ! AMAZING !!! keep it upppp !!! =)

  19. Meike van Lelyveld

    2013-09-19 at 7:51 PM

    OMG this is soo beautifull! You’re amazing!

  20. ChamaFashion

    2013-09-19 at 9:10 PM

    Awesome collection!

  21. milex

    2013-09-19 at 11:52 PM

    Those shoes!!

  22. Joy

    2013-09-20 at 2:01 AM

    The details seen here are so so incredible. Just wowed.

  23. YV

    2013-09-20 at 5:16 AM

    What an experience. Would love to be there.

  24. Yam Poppy

    2013-09-20 at 5:52 AM

    The white makes a woman look beautiful even if.
    And the photograph which you take when is beautiful.
    from japan
    Yam Poppy

  25. Mags (@MagsTheBlogger)

    2013-09-20 at 11:28 AM

    Such an interesting take on LFW. As an outsider looking into Fashion Week, I felt the same but dismissed my own thoughts on the buyer-ready designs as I just don’t feel I know enough about fashion to make such a lurid comment. I’ve never been to London Fashion Week so it’s good to hear your views on this.
    Great photos from Simone Rocha and love all the Perspex and lace work.
    Read my latest post: ** TRASHION from Dumpster Design **
    Mags x

  26. Iwona

    2013-09-20 at 9:22 PM

    Very interesting post!

  27. Anna

    2013-09-20 at 10:14 PM

    I adore those cocoon coats, sheer is always so beautiful

  28. Shirley yanez

    2013-09-22 at 7:44 PM

    This is my favorite collection Great shots! I hope one day my Venus Cow staple collection makes the runway.

  29. Rebecca

    2013-09-22 at 8:04 PM

    I would kill to be able to go backstage and snap some pics at one of her shows! Beautiful as always however I think SS/13 still sits with me as one of my faves

  30. Steven Cargill

    2013-10-01 at 1:37 AM

    Congratulations for the success of the event. I think though that you should relax during the events. You deserve to enjoy and admire what you have worked so hard for. Don’t think that something bad will happen because for sure the production team will be there to help you. Good luck to your upcoming events.

  31. Shengyuan

    2013-10-21 at 3:09 AM

    The new fashion that i have never seen before, it is really novelty to me and i think they are awsome.
    There are some dresses, swimwear and other clothes in our web.

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